The National Pork Producers Council told a House subcommittee Thursday that pork producers and the U.S. economy are losing billions of dollars in exports due to non-science-based food safety and health barriers erected by foreign countries. According to Iowa hog farmer Jim Boyer – who testified before the Small Business Committee’s agriculture, energy and trade panel on behalf of NPPC – so-called sanitary and phytosanitary measures are restricting market access for U.S. pork and adversely affecting U.S. pork producers. He says that’s especially true of small producers like him.
As the U.S. negotiates trade agreements – Boyer says NPPC wants sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) issues addressed. Boyer says the U.S. pork industry supports the Trans-Pacific Partnership – but the countries that are part of the agreement must eliminate their SPS barriers. They believe the deal should include an SPS chapter with a meaningful dispute settlement provision. The group says Russia has a number of SPS measures that restrict U.S. pork imports – including a zero-tolerance standard for pathogens on meat. NPPC told subcommittee members Russia should abide by the WTO’s Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures.
NPPC says the European Union should be one of the largest export markets for U.S. pork – but because of its SPS barriers – it is one of the smallest. The group says any U.S.-EU trade agreement must address such non-science-based trade restrictions. Taiwan unfairly restricts U.S. pork exports from hogs fed ractopamine. NPPC believes the Asian nation’s entry into the TPP negotiations should hinge on their elimination of that SPS barrier.
Boyer said pork producers understand that the future of their industry depends on adopting new and safe technologies and in expanding exports. He said it’s vital to protect current market access from unfair barriers or such expansion will be impossible.